Can a new coach be a savior to the Oil?

Jason Gregor
April 20 2009 12:18PM

While the Oiler faithful waits patiently to see who will be their next head coach, the question that should be asked is how much will it matter?

Since Craig MacTavish was relieved of his duties/fired/resigned/time for a change, there is a sense that a new head coach will be the spark this organization needs to get back on track.

Will he be the savior?

No.

He will make a difference, but unless he's a miracle worker most of the changes will come from the players themselves.

The new boss won’t make Cogliano better in the faceoff dot, nor will he get Penner in better shape. That commitment and dedication will come from the players. The coach might communicate and interact with them better, which might help with their confidence, but the inner drive to succeed and improve will manifest from the players.

Case in point: Todd McLellan.

All season long he has been heralded as a great coach. He was the new voice that would finally make the Sharks live up to their potential. Yet, once again it is Groundhog Day in San Jose.

The Sharks are halfway to another big-time gag job. Have they suddenly tuned out Mclellan? Did he get stupid in the last week?

Of course not, but unless he can transplant some desire and will into Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau the Sharks aren’t going anywhere. Cheechoo, who struggled all year, has been their most effective player. He has battled hard v. the Human Rake all series, and yesterday scored a beautiful goal. He is in the game, going to the tough areas and has shown the competitive level that is necessary to thrive in the playoffs.

To date Thornton has not, but if you're McLellan your only choice is too keep going with Thornton and hope that if he gets a bounce that will spark his game.

McLellan and his staff will be watching tape to figure out what has gone wrong on special teams. The Sharks were top five on PP and PK in the regular season, but they have been brutal in both against the Ducks.

The Sharks are 0-12 on the PP, while the Ducks are two for six. The Sharks' lack of success on the PP has killed them so far. We’ll see if McLellan can come up with a few wrinkles that can get the Sharks back in the series, but if he doesn’t then once again the Sharks will remain regular season stalwarts and post-season weaklings.

Will a new coach help the Oilers?

Yes, but he won’t be a miracle worker. I think the new coach comes in at the right time. Gagner, Cogliano, Gilbert will be better just because of age and strength. And he will have a new message, system and personality that will automatically make all the players be more attentive.

But like McLellan is learning, if your best players get outplayed by the other team’s best players your chances of winning in the playoffs are minimal.

Other playoff tidbits

What a great game three in Philadelphia yesterday. That series has been the most entertaining by far. Hits, fights, goals and a true hatred amongst the teams. And how sweet is Scott Hartnell’s/Side Show Bob hair right now. That's the best salad in the league hands down.

I just can’t get into the Canes/Devils series. I tried watching game three yesterday, and that series does nothing for me. Although watching Bill Cowher get that excited to wind up the horn was comedy. I thought he was going to start spitting he was so fired up. You gotta think he will be back coaching in the NFL very soon. I don’t like to rip on broadcasters, but listening to Mark Lee is painful.

The atmosphere at the United Center is great, but it still doesn’t come close to Chicago Stadium. I remember when the Oilers and Hawks used to battle it out in the late '80s and early '90s, and the noise before the game even started made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. The acoustics in that building were the best ever.

It sure sucks not having playoffs in Edmonton again. The city just isn’t the same.

Things that make you go 'hmmmmm'

Will Darryl Sutter get the axe if the Flamers go out in five? Or does he tie the can to Mike Keenan to save his own behind?

Is Malkin better than Crosby? He definitely is a better goal scorer.

Will there be a better hit during the playoffs than the one Chris Kunitz had on Kimmo Timonen? Kunitz has been a great addition for the Pens since coming over from Anaheim.

I said it at the deadline and I’ll say it again. The worst trade hands down was Daniel Carcillo for Scottie Upshall and a 2nd rounder. What was Paul Holmgren thinking?

And will any coach use this as a motivational tool to show his players anything is possible? I rarely check out YouTube, but I will admit this one was pretty got my attention. I always wanted to be a rockstar more than an athlete. I doubt she will live the rockstar life, but being able to sing like that might be better than sports.

I’m just saying.

This one kinda chokes a guy up... weird.

Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
Avatar
#1 Alan
April 20 2009, 12:29PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

What is up with the Sharks? Is Thornton that much of a non-factor? And Gregor don't worry you weren't the only guy to get a bit choked up over that video. My wife made me watch it and I had the fast blinks going...

Avatar
#2 JustAName
April 20 2009, 12:36PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

[quote]I said it at the deadline and I’ll say it again. The worst trade hands down was Daniel Carcillo for Scottie Upshall and a 2nd rounder. What was Paul Holmgren thinking?[/quote]

He was thinking "I need cap space... oh lord I need cap space!"

Avatar
#3 Archaeologuy
April 20 2009, 12:37PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

A few things,

1) I demand nothing less than miracles from the next head coach. If he cant a) turn water into a 40 goal scorer or b) fly and shoot lasers from his eyes, then I dont want him.

2) That Kunitz hit made yell "OH SH*T" at the top of my lungs while everyone in my house was sleeping (late night highlights). Wicked hit.

Avatar
#4 Archaeologuy
April 20 2009, 12:38PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ JustAName: If I recall correctly Carcillo and Upshall's contracts are very similar, so he didnt save much at all on his cap.

Avatar
#5 Wanye Gretz
April 20 2009, 12:39PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I watched that clip Gregor. I will tip my hat to you Sir. I don't know what you do when you aren't on the air but it is a black art.

Avatar
#6 Mike Krushelnyski
April 20 2009, 12:40PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Archaeologuy wrote:

A few things, 1) I demand nothing less than miracles from the next head coach. If he cant a) turn water into a 40 goal scorer or b) fly and shoot lasers from his eyes, then I dont want him.

Lasers from the eyes eh? And Harvey the Hound thought he had it bad before...

Avatar
#7 Slurve
April 20 2009, 12:46PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I feel MacT's coaching style and game strategies fits mainly seasoned and older players that have been through tough seasons with their former teams. They know what it is like to continually not make the playoffs. When we got the Human rake, Peca,Spacek and perhaps Samsonov, we had a better team to complement Hemsky and Smyth that plays to MacT's game plans. These younger Oilers do not yet have of what it takes such as will and intestinal fortitude. Our older leaders Moreau and Staios are just 2 out of many younger players and therefore, cannot sustain a common goal. A coach who is tougher perhaps like Pat Quinn or a a players coach who have shown results that he can handle younger players and get their respect which is Brent Sutter.

Another thought. What about trading for Pittsburg's Malkin or Crosby. Given the NHl economy in the US is in a sorry state and the upcoming signing challenge of Malkin, I cannot see them keeping both players in the next 2-3 years. The Oilers should try to go for one of them. We have enough young forwards and defensemen to trade up for.

Avatar
#8 Jason Gregor
April 20 2009, 12:47PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

JustAName wrote:

[quote]I said it at the deadline and I’ll say it again. The worst trade hands down was Daniel Carcillo for Scottie Upshall and a 2nd rounder. What was Paul Holmgren thinking?[/quote] He was thinking “I need cap space… oh lord I need cap space!”

Carcillo was a $893,000 cap hit and Upshall was $1.225 million. At the deadline you basically were paying 1/5th of the salary...Carcillo cost the Flyers around $178,000 while Upshall was $245,000...A savings of $67,000...not to mention the Coyotes got a 2nd rounder as well...Awful trade any way you slice it...Alan wrote:

What is up with the Sharks? Is Thornton that much of a non-factor? And Gregor don’t worry you weren’t the only guy to get a bit choked up over that video. My wife made me watch it and I had the fast blinks going…

Fast blinks for the wife...she must have loved that. As for Thornton during the playoffs everyone raises their game a level, yet it seems his stays the same. He is a strange player to figure out.

Avatar
#9 Archaeologuy
April 20 2009, 12:48PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Slurve wrote:

What about trading for Pittsburg’s Malkin or Crosby.

I've gotta think that Pittsburgh moves Staal before they dump one the big two.

Avatar
#10 JustAName
April 20 2009, 12:49PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Archaeologuy: The contracts are about 300k different .. put Flyers about 37k under the cap ... it was enough to get the job done :) Flyers were hosed.

Avatar
#11 BUCK75 - FMNF
April 20 2009, 12:51PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

That youtube clip was epic...I was definately wondering WTF kind of business she had being on the stage as well.

*yawns & puts another red 'X' on the countdown to the NHL 09/10 season to begin*

Avatar
#12 shakey
April 20 2009, 12:54PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Jason, When the new coach rolls into town lets say he leads us to the division title and they go into the playoffs and pull a 'Dirty San Jose'. Is the season considered a failure at that point?

Avatar
#13 Asher
April 20 2009, 12:55PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Chances of the Pope be ex-communicated > chances of PC's losing the next provincial election in Alberta > chances of Darryl Sutter losing his job this summer

Avatar
#14 Harlie
April 20 2009, 12:55PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

i liked one comment from the youtube video

"did someone hit that lady in the face with a shovel?"

:)

Avatar
#15 BUCK75
April 20 2009, 12:55PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

No that we don't have acoach, I guess I should get rid of the acronym :$

Avatar
#16 baggedmilk
April 20 2009, 12:56PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

That Kunitz hit was epic. Oh man, was that a beauty.

Crosby isn't a goal scorer, he's a passer. I don't even know how comparing him to Malkin is the same. They're two different types of players.

Side note... Malkin's visor looks like a windshield.

Avatar
#17 Jonathan Willis
April 20 2009, 12:58PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
I think the new coach comes in at the right time. Gagner, Cogliano, Gilbert will be better just because of age and strength. And he will have a new message, system and personality that will automatically make all the players be more attentive.

I think there's a lot of truth in that statement.

Avatar
#18 Ogden Brother
April 20 2009, 12:58PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Great blog, I've been thinking alot about the topic... I think Oiler fans are in for a bit of a let down.

Also:

"Yes, but he won’t be a miracle worker. I think the new coach comes in at the right time. Gagner, Cogliano, Gilbert will be better just because of age and strength. And he will have a new message, system and personality that will automatically make all the players be more attentive."

Another good point that unfortunatly the cronic MacT bashers will skip over when the team does hit it's stride.

Avatar
#19 Reggie
April 20 2009, 12:59PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ JustAName: That $37K might have been enough to allow the Flyers to add Maclaren from the Sharks when you combine it with what they had in cap space.

I agree, a terrible trade unless you get extra bonus point for bad penalties and suspensions... then Carcillo wins hands down.

Avatar
#20 Quicksilver ballet
April 20 2009, 12:59PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Can't help but feel the next coach won't be as good as the one WE just drove the bus over.

Get rid of the 3 or so AHL'ers on this team and give Craig a top line center and MacT could have been coach of the year.It has become obvious scouting is just not that good at assesing 18 yr olds. I'd like to see Penner on a line w/ Simon Gagne, have Hemsky, Horcoff and Kotalik as solid second line.

Will this be the summer Lecavilier moves? (60-40 yes)

Avatar
#21 Souby
April 20 2009, 12:59PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I don't think it is too much to ask for the coach to be a savior, motivator and miracle worker all wrapped into one. The Oilers lack team toughness, grit, the ability to win a faceoff or score goals, which are all things that a coach should provide.......You didn't think that the players should provide those things did you?

Apparently, when you have a system that makes all contract guaranteed, players are harder to motivate.....go figure. I think Messier should be the new coach. Let Penner or Nillson slack off with the Moose breathing down their necks!

Avatar
#22 Ogden Brother
April 20 2009, 01:00PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Slurve:

Malkin has already been extended.

Avatar
#23 Ogden Brother
April 20 2009, 01:02PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

shakey wrote:

Jason, When the new coach rolls into town lets say he leads us to the division title and they go into the playoffs and pull a ‘Dirty San Jose’. Is the season considered a failure at that point?

Huge difference between taking a consistant Presidents candidate to the presidents trohpy... and taking a 10th place team to a division win.

Avatar
#24 Slurve
April 20 2009, 01:03PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Archaeologuy: Dumping Staal will not do it. It is just putting off the inevitable. You can bet Malkin will be asking for Ovechkin range salary. Then if that is the case Pittsburg will be paying 2 guys almost half of their salary budget. That will not fly esp in the current US economy and even more so if they do not go to the finals...

Avatar
#25 Boris
April 20 2009, 01:05PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Stall would look good in an Oiler jersey. A friend of mine threw out the Horcoff, Hemsky, Gilbert to the Islanders for their first overall pick. At first I thought he was nuts but ......

Avatar
#26 Scott
April 20 2009, 01:10PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Archaeologuy wrote:

I’ve gotta think that Pittsburgh moves Staal before they dump one the big two.

I agree. Staal is the most likely to be moved out of Pittsburgh. I wouldn't mind him in an Oilers jersey.

Avatar
#27 Archaeologuy
April 20 2009, 01:16PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Slurve: Fair enough, but who do the Oilers have to offer? No All-Star young goalie, No top 3 draft pick. That leaves Gagner, Cogs, Vis, and Souray as the most talented/coveted assets. Vis and Souray make too much money for what the Pens would need back. So what are we offering? Two centers, 1 who cant win a faceoff and 1 who hasnt broken 50 points or ever been a plus player. So how are we getting Malkin from the Penguins?

Avatar
#28 Quicksilver ballet
April 20 2009, 01:20PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Boris wrote:

Stall would look good in an Oiler jersey. A friend of mine threw out the Horcoff, Hemsky, Gilbert to the Islanders for their first overall pick. At first I thought he was nuts but ……

I'd subtract Hemsky but i'd give them 2 of these other options like Moreau,Staois,Brodziak,Pouliot,Pisani etc, maybe even Penner if it nets us a top 3 prospect.

Avatar
#29 Archaeologuy
April 20 2009, 01:21PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Slurve: I didnt include Hemsky because he produces too well for his salary for the Oilers to move him, but I guess if it was a ridiculous deal he could be moved.

Avatar
#30 I'm a Scientist!
April 20 2009, 01:37PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Archaeologuy wrote:

b) fly and shoot lasers from his eyes,

Wow...so i guess i will expect a call from Tambo since i fit the bill. Finally, my skills will be used for something other than bird control at the airport.

Avatar
#31 topshelf
April 20 2009, 01:39PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Quicksilver ballet: Not a hope in hell that trade would fly.

Avatar
#32 Colin
April 20 2009, 01:41PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I'd move Hemsky to snag Tavares. It's a bit of a gamble, but I think Tavares has a higher upside than Hemsky does.

Avatar
#33 The Towel Boy
April 20 2009, 01:46PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Sharks down 2-0? Who saw this coming!?!

Avatar
#34 Quicksilver ballet
April 20 2009, 01:52PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

topshelf wrote:

@ Quicksilver ballet: Not a hope in hell that trade would fly.

We're talking about 2 desperate hockey clubs here, right now i feel we're no better off than Toronto:(

Avatar
#35 Ogden Brother
April 20 2009, 01:58PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Quicksilver ballet wrote:

topshelf wrote: @ Quicksilver ballet: Not a hope in hell that trade would fly. We’re talking about 2 desperate hockey clubs here, right now i feel we’re no better off than Toronto:(

Were far better off then TO, other then Scheen and what will probably be Jared Cowen... both stay at home Dmen. Their cupboard is basically bare.

Avatar
#36 Drew
April 20 2009, 02:06PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

People know that this new coach won't make as big a splash as it's made out to be "miracle worker" but it will be a new voice. Props must be given to MacT for what he did do for the organization, city, team etc but it was time. Look at the pens. They canned their coach early in the season after they made the finals. While the sens were dropping in the east the addition of Clouston was enough to spark that team to make a push. A very slim to none chance but a chance none the less. No one in this organization should feel safe accept Tambellini. It's great to see our friends at Rexall invest in a product that has nothing to do with the old boys club FINALLY. TAMBELLINI fixes non accountability and work ethic. Warning side affects may include new coaching, new office personel, new scouting, new players, no more emotional stupid contracts, a change in direction, and some Accountability. Satisfaction guarenteed.

Avatar
#37 The Towel Boy
April 20 2009, 02:06PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Colin wrote:

I think Tavares has a higher upside than Hemsky does.

Uhh...yeah. I'm in.

Avatar
#38 myteammytown
April 20 2009, 02:13PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Slurve wrote:

@ Archaeologuy: Dumping Staal will not do it. It is just putting off the inevitable. You can bet Malkin will be asking for Ovechkin range salary. Then if that is the case Pittsburg will be paying 2 guys almost half of their salary budget. That will not fly esp in the current US economy and even more so if they do not go to the finals…

malkin has already signed an extension.

Avatar
#39 Drew
April 20 2009, 02:13PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

holy crap not that i don't talk about trade's that i would like to see but Jason talks about coaching and the playoffs and this turns into another armchair GM's blog. There is a spcial place for this people it's called EA sports online NHL, or blogs about trades not one's about the possibilty for the new oilers coach.

Avatar
#40 Ducey
April 20 2009, 02:21PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Maybe the Bruins actually knew what they were doing a few years ago when they dumped Big Joe? If your number one guy is never going to take you to a cup win, maybe you get rid of him?

Of course it cost the GM his job, he was criticized by everyone in hockey, and the team sucked for years, but hey, maybe thats the cost of being right!

Avatar
#41 topshelf
April 20 2009, 02:25PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Ducey: and this year they are poised to win it all...

Avatar
#42 baggedmilk
April 20 2009, 02:26PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Boris wrote:

Stall would look good in an Oiler jersey. A friend of mine threw out the Horcoff, Hemsky, Gilbert to the Islanders for their first overall pick. At first I thought he was nuts but ……

I think you're both nuts.

Hemsky's contract = A steal of epic proportions in a cap world.

Horcoff = No one wants that contract (he had better come to play next year)

NY is not trading the Tavares pick, they're looking for a new arena and to rebuild.

Avatar
#43 Ogden Brother
April 20 2009, 02:48PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ myteammytown:

I see you've joined the dark side....

Avatar
#44 Chaz
April 20 2009, 03:00PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Hey Gregor,

I couldn't agree more on the Pens / Flyers series. It's awesome to watch. I'm not sure if it's been discussed yet, but I much prefer the NBC feed versus the CBC. That behind the net view they do during Power Plays is wicked. The one yesterday was from way up in the rafters. Gives you a great view of the way they move the puck around. It was on when Richards got his second goal yesterday.

What never ceases to amaze me during playoffs is how fine of a line it is between winning and losing. The question of the day on this site asks if it's surprising that Calgary has been so awful, but really they are a bounce away from being right in their series. Same with San Jose. One or two of their many posts go in and that series is a whole different story. It's what makes watching them so much fun. Gotta love the drama.

Avatar
#45 myteammytown
April 20 2009, 03:07PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Ogden Brother:

one could say that....

Avatar
#46 Ogden Brother
April 20 2009, 03:21PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ myteammytown:

Good man

Avatar
#47 Robin Brownlee
April 20 2009, 03:41PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Harlie wrote:

i liked one comment from the youtube video “did someone hit that lady in the face with a shovel?”

Nice touch. I don't give a whiz what she looks like. This dame has the kind of pipes very few of today's "stars" do.

There's so many singers out there who are cutting record deals and making big lettuce because they look hot and their producer can perform miracles on the mixing board. They're as fake as the store-bought cans they're packing.

I'll take Ernest Borgnine in a dress with those kind of chops any day.

Avatar
#48 swany
April 20 2009, 03:46PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Sharks are proving that a new coach can't change everything, again another great reg season and a first round exit. You can bet your last dollar that if the sharks go out in round one either Big Joe or Patrick will be traded they will need to change the room.

Avatar
#49 Big Deal
April 20 2009, 03:53PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Why won't a new coach make Cogs better at the face off circle?? Should not the coach make players better at their postions? He is the 'coach' after all. Coach is fancy name for teacher. Maybe the new coach can try and teach his young players.....What a novel concept!

Avatar
#50 The Towel Boy
April 20 2009, 04:03PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Robin Brownlee wrote:

I’ll take Ernest Borgnine in a dress with those kind of chops any day.

Ernest Borgnine. The original Big Sexy. He makes Souray look like a mere mortal.

Comments are closed for this article.